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Creative

Contemporary Master Interprets Emotions into Physical Form in Short Film 'UNSPOKEN'

Nicholas Berglund director William Armstrong depicts world-class ballet choreographer creating lockdown masterpiece dedicated to his late father

Contemporary Master Interprets Emotions into Physical Form in Short Film 'UNSPOKEN'

In April 2020, with lockdown at its most restrictive, filmmaker William Armstrong began an Instagram conversation with renowned choreographer Paul Lightfoot. The two connected as artists seeking to tell a story about a shift in the world and the collective feelings of those affected by the pandemic.

For Lightfoot, the idea resonated particularly personally, having lost his father just days before. With Covid-19 policies blocking family from entering hospitals, he was refused the right to be at his father’s bedside. The project became a vehicle to process this grief, to reflect on what had been taken away, and to respond by creating something beautiful in its place.

A first for his 35-year career, Lightfoot set about choreographing entirely remotely from his home in The Netherlands with Sebastian Haynes, a dancer based in Denmark.

During this six-week period, the filmmaker Armstrong recorded every conversation and rehearsal to interweave Lightfoot’s story with glimpses into the working relationship between a choreographer and dancer. Composer Alexander McKenzie joined at the early stages to create original music for the film. The final performance was filmed on location at Grundtvig’s Kirken in Copenhagen, one of the city’s best-known churches built in 1927. 

'Unspoken' is a rare window into a contemporary master interpreting his emotions into physical form. A powerful and moving tribute to Lightfoot’s father and a beacon of creative possibility in this unprecedented time.

Learn more about the film here. ​View more of William's works here.


Featured Companies: Merman UK

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Production

Production company: Stonefire & Weirdo

Director: William Armstrong

Choreographer: Paul Lightfoot

Dancer: Sebastian Haynes

Producer: Allan Stenild

Cinematographer: Jacob Møller

Focus Puller: Rasmus Gaardhøje

Steadicam Operator: Jonas Torp

Gaffer: Noah Lynnerup

2nd Unit Camera: Rasmus Hasle

2nd Unit Assistant: Alexander Lissalde

Sound Recordist: Jasnai Jansen

Production Assistant: Lavdim Morina

Camera Supplier: Shot Rental

Original Music: Alexander McKenzie

Strings: Andreas Bernitt

Editor: Stephen Dunne

Editorial: TenThree

Assistant Editor: Gary Bowyer

2nd Assistant Editor: Jules Bayer-Crier

Editorial Producer: Ed Hoadley

Stills Photographer: Morten Bengtsson

Sound Design: Anders Singh Vesterdahl

Colourist: Nicke Cantarelli

Online: Moose Studio

Titles: Sibling Studio

Title Designer: Jorge Peschiera

Titles Producers: Shelby Ross, Joanna Fillie

SPECIAL THANKS: Patricia-Mary Lightfoot, Saura Lightfoot-Leon, Philip Maury, Grundtvigs Kirke Copenhagen, Niels Henrik Juul, Philip Dysted Frank, Lene Juhl, Nanna Teisner Nielsen, Sognepraest Vibeke Bidstrup, Peter Bo Bendixen, Nederlands Dance Theater, The Lab Copenhagen, Zoom Video Communications, Mattsson & McGehee Pianos, Carolina Praetorius, Tobias Praetorius, Simon Ladefoged and Sofie Bay

Category: Short Films and Music Videos , Short films

Genre: Choreography